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Shakespeare Theatre Company' s Macbeth and the Limits of Multiculturalism Open Access Deposited

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The STC Macbeth’s setting and predominantly multiethnic cast brought to mind Orson Welles’s landmark 1936 Macbeth which was set in Haiti and featured an all-black cast. In both cases, the ethnicity and race of the cast matched that of the characters and cultures in the adaptation’s respective universe. Tommy’s production engaged in two models of nontraditional casting, namely conceptual casting, a model “in which actors of color are [self-consciously] cast in roles to enhance the play’s social resonance,” and cross-cultural casting, an approach that translates the universe of the play to a different culture and location. In some instances, multicultural theater, whether made locally or imported as touring theater, can receive mixed reception due to audience’s investment in some form of cultural authenticity. Iqbal Khan’s Much Ado About Nothing (RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon, August, 2012), for example, was set in contemporary Delhi and performed by a cast of second-generation Indian British actors. The production appropriated Bollywood-inspired music.

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